Afghan Security

The authors explore the critical needs of the Afghan National Security Forces.

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idea light bulbIn late March, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah will visit Washington—their first visit to the United States as a national unity government following a prolonged electoral impasse. Afghanistan’s security is expected to be a primary topic of discussion. Since assuming office, President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah have consistently said that more U.S. troops should remain in Afghanistan than currently committed. Recent comments by senior U.S. military leaders have opened the door to the possibility of adjusting both the troop numbers and the timeline of U.S. military support in Afghanistan. In Kabul, U.S. commanding general of the NATO force, Gen. John Campbell, has repeatedly stressed the challenges facing the Afghan National Security Forces, or ANSF, in the absence of U.S. force capabilities. Newly confirmed U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter reinforced these concerns in a February 22 discussion in Kabul. This issue brief outlines the existing gaps in U.S. and NATO support to the ANSF and highlights five critical areas where continued support could make the strategic difference to the ANSF’s ability to secure Afghanistan’s future. As the Obama administration considers adjusting the timeline for the next stage of the U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan, the most important consideration must be filling strategic capability shortfalls within the ANSF.

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